tribes migrated into the Iranian plateau in
the 2d millennium BC. There are over 1.5
million nomads in Iran today. Many of these
tribes such as the Kurds, Bakhtiyaris (Bactrians),
Lurs, Guilaks, and the Baluchs are descendants
of the original invaders who came from Central
Asia to settle in the Iranian Plateau.
Most of the
tribes of Central Iran are pure Aryan, while
others such as the Arabs of Khuzestan and
Khorassan, the Qashqai, the Turkmen (decendants
of Mongols), Shahsevan and Afshar tribes of
Azarbaijan had ancestors who passed through
1920 nomadic pastoral tribes were over a
quarter of Iran's population. Their number
declined sharply as a result of forced settlement
in the 1920s and 1930s. Continued pressure as
well as the lure of the cities and settled
life have resulted in a further sharp decline
since the 1960s.
tribal groups are the Kurds, who live in the
province of Kurdestan in the northern Zagros
region, the Lurs and the Bakhtiari, who live
in the southern Zagros region, the Qashqai in
Fars, the Turkoman in the northeast, and the
Baluch in the southeast.
There are over
one hundred different nomadic tribes today,
each with its own dialect, style of dress and
housing, and its own chief or leader.
Bakhtiari tribe, which numbered more than 1
million in 1997, inhabits an area of
approximately 67,000 Km (25,000 Mi) that
straddles the central Zagros Mountains. They
speak a dialect of Persian called Luri, are
Shiite Muslims, and about one third of the
tribe is nomadic. Their migration is among the
most spectacular known among nomadic
Qashqai are a Turkish-speaking tribe of
pastoral nomads in southern Iran. They migrate
between winter pastures near the Persian Gulf
and summer pastures on the Iranian Plateau.
The Qashqai have shown greater cohesion than
most Iranian tribes.They numbered an estimated
790,000 in 1997.
The Baluch, whose
name means "wanderers', retain a
semi-nomadic way of life today. They habitate
the far south-east part of Iran, the Mokran
region, and far west Pakistan, which is a
desert region. The Baluch share a common
identity based on Baluchi—an Iranian
language—and adherence to Sunni Islam. They
are famous for camel races and rugs.
Many of the
Ghashghai in Fars province are still nomadic
and of Turkic origin.
Lur are considered the most intact tribe,
retaining their virility, robustness and tall
stature. Mostly farmers and shepherds living
in the Luristan area.
Guilaks are among
the most original tribes of Iran who speak a
pure Persian dialect.
pastoral nomads residing in the Azarbaijan and
Hamadan region in the summers and the Caspian
coast in the winter. The Shahsevans live in
the northeastern Azarbaijan.
(Arabic for "five together") is a
federation of five tribes of pastoral nomads
in the province of Fars in southern Iran. The
five tribes, numbering more than 75,000, are
the Persian-speaking Arab and Basseri and the
Turkish-speaking Ainalu, Baharlu, and Nafar.
With their sheep and other livestock, the
Khamseh nomads migrate semiannually across the
Zagros Mountains between the low-lying valleys
and plains close to the coast of the Persian
Gulf and the high, summer pastures on the